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Media Metrix Depicts Rapid Kazaa Decline
March 31, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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Since June 26, 2003, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has maintained a staunch campaign to rid the Internet of mainstream file-sharing. The results of this campaign have been a decidedly mixed bag. While CD shipments are up, the number of overall units shipped in 2004 is still down 21% since 1999. In addition, fewer albums were sold in 2004 compared with 1999.

Although sales are still shakey, the RIAA’s plight against mainstream P2P has shown some success. The FastTrack network, fronted by Kazaa, Grokster and iMesh has suffered tremendously as this network’s population has fallen by more than half. According to Slyck’s network statistics for FastTrack, this network reached its peak of 4.4 million users in April of 2003 – two month before the RIAA’s crusade. Since that time, it has maintained a steady decline to an average of only 2.3 million last month. The persistence of RIAA lawsuits, the effects of file pollution and the pervasiveness of spyware have all assisted in this fall from grace.

While the RIAA has been successful against FastTrack, the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has waged its own campaign. However, instead of attacking the dying FastTrack network, the MPAA instead opted to thwart the BitTorrent community. The MPAA has been successful against many larger Torrent sites – either through lawsuits or intimidation tactics. Since the MPAA began its legal recourse in December of 2004, BitTorrent has seen the fall of SuprNova, Loki Torrent, Youceff Torrents, Phoenix Torrents, and many others. Despite this success, many smaller Torrent sites appear to have taken up much of the slack.

Because of the legal pressure applied to Kazaa, there appears to be a significant decline in the amount of traffic Kazaa Media Desktop’s homepage is receiving. According to Media Metrix’s latest research, the percentage of individuals visiting KMD has fallen by 71% since February of 2004 (the research did not study upload or download traffic.) Visitors to Kazaa Lite’s homepage have also fallen significantly, as Media Metrix estimate’s their traffic has fallen by 40%. Interestingly, despite no significant changes to WinMX in over 3 years, the amount of traffic to this network’s homepage has only fallen by a marginal 3%.

Conversely, it appears Gnutella is experiencing a growth unparalleled by many other networks. Traffic to the LimeWire and BearShare websites have increased by 1876% and 29% respectively. LimeWire has received the lion share of traffic, thanks to its open source and no-spyware policy. Supporting this growth, according to Slyck’s Gnutella statistics, the population of this network has grown from a quarter million in early 2004 to nearly 1.5 million in March of 2005. Although a mainstream network, Gnutella has significantly fewer polluted files, greater protection from the RIAA’s prying eyes, and an acceptable reputation in the P2P community.

It is interesting to note, there is no mention of the eDonkey2000 network, which continues to grow unabated. According to Slyck’s network statistics, eDonkey2000 has grown from an average of a half million users in January of 2003, to over 3 million user in March 2005 – with no slow down in sight.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Studies/Research

You can read MediaLifeMagazine's capture of Media Metrix's statistics here.

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